(Ecofin Agency) - Mara’s smartphone production plant in Rwanda should launch its operation by April 2019. This was announced by Paula Ingabire (photo), Rwanda's minister of Information and communication technology, on February 7, 2019, to the education, technology, culture and youth parliamentary committee that was asking about the measures implemented by the government to make the IT a developmental tool for quality human resources.
According to the IT minister, talks are in progress with Mara group. She explains that “once the factory starts producing smartphones, people will be paying in instalments over a period of 24 months”. Conscious that only a device is not enough to facilitate the population’s access to digital services, Paula Ingabire indicates that the government "also has to work with telecommunications companies to seek ways of reducing prices on internet use, which will boost ICT penetration and digital services."
According to Innocent Muhizi, managing director of the Rwanda Information Society Authority (RISA), though the 4G LTE coverage rate is already 90% in the country, “internet access is still low since people need smart devices to access it.” He explains that this is the reason internet penetration rate is still 47.7% according to figures published by the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA).